Because it’s a Kirby game, and because Kirby games are never allowed to sit at the adult’s table of Nintendo’s release schedule, you would think the upcoming release of Kirby and the Forgotten Land, aka what you could assume to be just another Kirby platformer, would go unremarked by many. And yet...this game is weird, man, and I can’t stop thinking about it.
First up, consider the setting. It’s post-apocalyptic. And not like Splatoon, where humans died out 12,000 years ago and are but a distant memory. It’s immediately post-apocalyptic, like a Nintendo take on The Last Of Us, featuring cityscapes overrun with wildlife and vegetation, an immediate suggestion that whatever Kirby is doing in this game, he is doing it in a world that has seen a cataclysmic disaster. Dress it up with stars and cute clouds all you want, but it’s a haunting setting for a damn Kirby game.
Which might explain why this is the first time Kirby gets a gun. Not to eat and spit bullets out of, like some glorified Smash Bros. item, but a gun that he holds, which he pulls out from behind his back and blasts enemies with. Again, there is a layer of cuteness slathered over the whole thing to make it look wholesome, but the fact remains, Kirby is shooting things in the face here, and he’s doing it without remorse.
If that wasn’t enough for you, though, consider the trailer Nintendo dropped today, which not only once again revels in the post-apocalyptic setting, but is focused on something called Mouthful Mode. The video thumbnail serves as a warning for what you’re about to get yourself into:
Kirby has spent his entire life in the spotlight eating things. It’s literally the thing that he does, that he’s known for above all else. So I don’t know why this is so interesting, and slightly disgusting, to me. It’s not the scale of the objects he’s ingesting that’s off, because he’s eaten some pretty big and oddly-shaped Smash characters before. And it’s not the fact that he’s gaining the powers of the things he’s swallowing, because again, that’s standard operating procedure for Kirby.
It’s the way he’s eating them. Leaving your throat jokes at the door for a moment, Kirby is at full stretch getting those cars into his mouth, in a way that looks more like a snake trying to eat a cat than Kirby trying to eat a bad guy. And I hate snakes, they gross me out, so seeing Kirby’s mouth straining at the edges trying to slide over the hood of a car is also grossing me out, especially since he stays that size after doing it.
Some of the other stuff he eats in Mouthful Mode—even the name is low-hanging fruit for anyone who left a throat joke at the door above—is fine! The vending machine is funny, and the lightbulb looks downright cute, so I think my problem is more with the car than the mode itself.
Please note now this is a fun blog and I have no actual problem with the entire premise of the game. I love how it’s embracing the fact Kirby as a character is inherently a little freak, and from the setting to the gun to the straining lips it’s lovely seeing Nintendo go wild with the little guy in his first full 3D adventure. They know exactly what they’re doing here with all this stuff, down to the specifically-tailored nature of this trailer, and I’m more interested in Kirby and the Forgotten Land than I have been for the last few Kirby games combined.
On a personal basis I just...hope we don’t have to drive too many cars. Or buses. Though I understand and respect those among you who, seeing something other than a snake eating a cat in the footage, want him to eat more cars. If that’s you please remember to collect your throat jokes from the door on your way out, thank you.